Charles Dickens and Catherine Hogarth seperate

In June of 1858 Catherine and Charles were legally separated.

Days later Dickens published a notice in the London Times and Household Words that tried to explain the separation to the public. In the notice he stated, "Some domestic trouble of mine, of long-standing, on which I will make no further remark than that it claims to be respected, as being of a sacredly private nature, has lately been brought to an arrangement, which involves no anger or ill-will of any kind, and the whole origin, progress, and surrounding circumstances of which have been, throughout, within the knowledge of my children. It is amicably composed, and its details have now to be forgotten by those concerned in it."

While an announcement of this sort seems extreme Dickens was motivated to do so by some of the rumors circulating about the breakup. There was some gossip about an actress and some stories even suggested that Dickens was having an affair with his sister-in-law, Georgina. The second rumor was particularly upsetting because in those times such a relationship would have been viewed as incestuous.

Despite assurances that things were "amicably composed" Dickens and Catherine were never again on pleasant terms. Catherine was given a house. Their oldest son, Charley, moved in with her. Dickens retained custody of the rest of the children. While the children were not forbidden to visit their mother they were not encouraged to do so.

Catherine lived for another twenty years after the separation. Deprived of both the role of wife and mother, she never seemed to recover from the breakup of her marriage.

In 1857, in preparation for public performances of The Frozen Deep, a play on which he and his protégé Wilkie Collins had collaborated, Dickens hired professional actresses to play the female parts. With one of these, Ellen Ternan, Dickens formed a bond which was to last the rest of his life. When he separated from his wife, Catherine, in 1858, divorce was almost unthinkable, particularly for someone as famous as he was, and he financially supported her long afterwards. Although they appeared to be initially happy together, Catherine did not seem to share quite the same boundless energy for life which Dickens had. Nevertheless, her job of looking after their ten children, the pressure of living with a world-famous novelist, and keeping house for him, certainly did not help. An indication of his marital dissatisfaction may be seen when, in 1855, he went to meet his first love, Maria Beadnell. Maria was by this time married as well, but seemed to have fallen short of Dickens's romantic memory of her.